Eric Bailly will reportedly ask to leave Manchester United next summer if his first-team prospects don’t improve at the club.
The powerful Ivorian defender has been linked with moves to Arsenal and Tottenham in January after finding in and out of Jose Mourinho’s side this season.
The player, who has played second fiddle to the likes of Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof this season, made a rare start during United’s 3-2 win over Newcastle last time out – but was subbed off after just 18 minutes with the hosts 2-0 down to Rafa Benitez’s side.
While Mourinho sought the player out after the match to insist he wasn’t held accountable for the deficit and that his substitution was purely tactical, the defender’s future at the club has been plunged into fresh doubt as a result.
However, ESPN reports that the defender has no intention of leaving Old Trafford in January – but claims he will ask to be sold next summer if his situation has not improved.
The same report also claims that if the former Villarreal man does ask to move on, United would be unwilling to sanction his sale to a Premier League rival.
Mourinho has promised Bailly he remains very much a part of his first-team thinking, despite the United manager’s obvious interest in recruiting a new central defender.
Summer deals for Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire failed to materialise, while United have been linked with Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar and Alessio Romagnoli of AC Milan in January.
Mourinho’s team are back in action against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next Saturday, October 20 and once again his first-team selections will be one to keep an eye on.
Bailly will wait to see if his manager’s words are genuine or hollow in the match against Maurizio Sarri’s high-flying side.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese coach is hopeful of having Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard available after injury but Nemanja Matic is a doubt after missing international duty with Serbia because of a back injury.
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